What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Meg Medina, Claudio Muñoz, and Nina Crews

h1 June 24th, 2011 by jules

“Tía Isa wants a car. But Tío Andrés laughs when he hears his sister’s plan. ‘Don’t be ridiculous!’ he says. ‘You’re not a rich queen! We walk to everything we need here, Isa. Now, what’s for dinner?’ Tía Isa just whistles as she steps over Tío’s work boots—muddy like ogre shoes—and stirs our black-bean soup.”

This morning at Kirkus I take a look at three new picture books created by folks who migrated from the world of editorial illustration to children’s book illustration — Laura Ljungkvist, Frank Viva, and Stephen Savage. The link is here this morning. Next Friday, I’ll showcase some art from each book.

(Also up at this link this morning is my Kirkus Qrank quiz on Villains of Children’s Lit. Now that was fun to write. Come on, you know you wanna play. I’ll even throw in a villain laugh for you: MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA.)

* * * * * * *

Last week’s column was all about one of Nina Crews’s newest titles, The Neighborhood Sing-Along (Greenwillow, May 2011), as well as the picture book debut from Meg Medina, Tía Isa Wants a Car (Candlewick, June 2011), illustrated by Claudio Muñoz. Since I can’t write about picture books and NOT show you art (I just worded that sentence in a very complicated manner, didn’t I?), here are some spreads from each book today.

The spreads from Nina’s book are re-posted from my Tuesday chat with her. It’s here, if you missed it and are interested.


“Tía Isa turns on the car, whose motor cranks with a puff of genie smoke, and then it says, Arroz, arroz, arroz, arroz. ‘First things first,’ she says. She pulls out the only thing left in our envelope, which is skinny now like an empty balloon. It’s a picture of our whole family. Me, Tía Isa, and Tío Andrés. But also my parents, grandparents, and cousins—los padres, abuelos, and primos—who are still there, thinking about us from that breezy house by the sea. I hold the picture steady
while she tapes down the corners.”

“Then Tía Isa leans into the Hula-hoop wheel, and off we go! My ponytail flaps behind me like a rope cut loose. We zoom along Sanford Avenue, past my school and the other buildings, so squat and red. Past a bus full of tired people squeezed close the way I hate, with no room to spin around on the bars inside.
‘Tía Isa bought a car!’ I shout.”

* * * * * * *

“I’m a Little Teapot” and “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe” from
The Neighborhood Sing-Along

“Do Your Ears Hang Low?” from
The Neighborhood Sing-Along

* * * * * * *

TIA ISA WANTS A CAR. Text copyright © 2011 by Meg Medina. Illustrations copyright © by Claudio Muñoz. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD SING-ALONG. Copyright © by 2011 by Nina Crews. Published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, New York. Images used with permission of Ms. Crews.

9 comments to “What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Meg Medina, Claudio Muñoz, and Nina Crews”

  1. Drinking in all the color in Tía Isa…gorgeous, Muñoz’s paintings are so alive! Thanks for featuring, Jules.

  2. Right? Aren’t they gorgeous?

  3. I can’t stop smiling! Meg Medina is a friend of mine from long before her books were published and yours in one of my favorite blogs (I’ve been lurking for ages!). Seeing Meg’s writing featured here makes me so darn happy!!

  4. Stacey, ooh! What you do sounds so fascinating. (Just clicked on your site.) Tell us more!

  5. […] Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast a blog about books « What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week,Featuring Meg Medina, Claudio Muñoz,… […]

  6. Claudio Munoz’s art shines with both Florida’s beachy light and Tia Isa’s spirit. Her bean-soup-stirring posture tells you that she’s just the one to get that car. And Meg’s writing is so lovely and evocative: “work boots—like muddy ogre shoes”, “(motor) it says, Arroz, arroz, arroz”, “My pony tail flaps behind me like a rope cut loose.” Wow.

    PIcture book text can and should be expanded when that expansion allows room for such wonderful imagery and heart. What a fine book.

  7. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking at some length with Meg Medina at ChLA this weekend. Can’t wait to read her books.

  8. What a lovely way to start my week! Thank you all for your kind comments. And I have to agree: Claudio’s illustrations ARE beautiful. I couldn’t have asked for a better illustrator. Cariños a todos……MM

  9. Thank you Julie for giving welcome exposure to this work I’m so fond of in your friendly blog. Thank you all for your sensitive and generous comments and gracias Meg -una vez más- for having written such inspired and inspiring text which made working with it both a pleasure and an honour.

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